Scientists use bands and Bing for sleep study

Sleepy woman
A study based on data from 30,000 users of Microsoft Bands confirms that sleep deprivation leads to reduced cognitive performance, at least when using the Bing search engine. (Bigstock Photo)

It may not be surprising that lack of sleep leaves you less sharp, but researchers have now quantified the effect with a surprisingly large sample: More than 30,000 people who wear Microsoft’s fitness bands and use Microsoft’s Bing search engine.

The results of the study suggest that a couple of short nights can slow you down for days afterward.

“When you don’t sleep well, it affects your cognitive performance, which means your work performance and lots of other things,” lead study author Tim Althoff said in a report on the Microsoft Next blog.

Althoff, who’s working on his Ph.D. in computer science at Stanford University, led the research team last summer during an internship at Microsoft’s research lab in Redmond, Wash. The resulting paper is to be presented in April at this year’s World Wide Web Conference in Perth, Australia.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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